The Ipswich Jets took on one of the most difficult away tasks in the Intrust Super Cup yesterday and were able to come home with a 24-10 win over the Northern Pride at Barlow Park.
It has been a difficult year so far for the Jets, so travelling to Cairns to play at a venue where they have only won twice since 2008 – and doing so with no Billy McConnachie – seemed like too much of a challenge.
However, it only took Ipswich three minutes to capitalise on a poor defensive read and Nat Neale crashed his way over out wide. Wes Conlon converted and the away side had the perfect start, leading 6-0.
Jets leading try scorer Richard Pandia then scored his sixth try of the year after his side were able to sustain pressure through repeat sets and it was 12-0 after 14 minutes.
Ipswich – who were buoyed by the return of Rory Humphries, who was finally back in action after sustaining a knee injury last year – turned their work to defence and kept repelling the Pride who threw plenty of attack at the Jets.
Under sustained pressure, the Jets could only hold the Pride out for so long and debutant Keenan Grogan-Hayes crossed in the corner. Khan Ah Wang missed the conversion and the Jets had a 12-4 lead.
Despite both teams having chances to add more points in the minutes leading up to the break, neither were able to capitalise and that’s how the scores remained at halftime.
At halftime, coach Ben Walker called on his charges to produce more points in order to guarantee a positive result.
The Jets responded at the start of the second half with a short kick-off and regained the ball. From there, Sam Martin scored, carrying defenders with him over the line and the Jets had extended their lead to 18-4.
However, an error (a loose carry from Michael Purcell) meant the Pride were given an attacking opportunity which they took advantage of with Jordan Biondi-Odo scoring for the home side.
Ah Wang’s conversion saw scores move to 24-10 with 21 minutes to go in the match.
Ipswich were given a chance to ice the win with a penalty within kicking distance, but Conlon was unable to convert.
Despite some back-and-forth play, the Jets were able to hold onto their 14-point lead for the next eight minutes to record win number three in the north and their second of the season.
Next weekend, the Jets will play Souths Logan, while the Pride will take on Norths.
IPSWICH JETS 24 (Nat Neale 2, Richard Pandia, Sam Martin tries; Wes Conlon 4 goals) def NORTHERN PRIDE 10 (Kienan Grogan-Hayes, Jordan Biondi-Odo tries; Khan Ahwang goal) at Barlow Park.